Hermine Braunsteiner

Picture of Hermine Braunsteiner

Date of Birth: 07/16/1919

Age: 79

Place of birth: Vienna

Citizenship: Germany


Born in Vienna, in a working family, professing Catholicism. His father, Friedrich Braunshtayner, was the driver in a brewery. Policy was not interested. His mother, Maria Braunshtayner was a laundress. Hermine was tall, blue-eyed blonde. The school disaccustomed only 8 years old. I wanted to become a nurse, but lacked money, so I went to the maid. From 1937 to 1938 she worked in the UK in the household of the American engineer. In 1938, the Anschluss made her a citizen of Germany, she returned to Vienna, but soon moved to Berlin, where he found a job at an aircraft factory Henkel.


Soon Hermine wished to become a prison matron (wages they had four times as much).

Start training by Maria Mandel, August 15, 1939 as a matron (it Aufseherin -. Women`s overseer or attendant) in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. After several years of work, because of a conflict with a service by Maria Mandel, asked for a translation.


October 16, 1942 began to work in the camp Majdanek death - at the point where she committed their main crimes.

In Majdanek its pathological sadism took a variety of forms.

She participated in the separation of women and children, before they were sent to the gas chambers, and several women iskhlestala to death.

Working with other matrons, trampled boots women received the nickname of "trampling mare" or "mare of Majdanek" (it. Stute von Majdanek). Prisoners considered it one of the most brutal wardens.

In 1943 he received an award Braunshtayner - Iron Cross 2nd class.

Back to Ravensbruck

In January 1944 Hermine was withdrawn back to Ravensbruck as Majdanek began to evacuate. Some time worked as matron in Genthin, where the separation of Ravensbruck was. Witnesses say she was beaten with a whip prisoners, which carried.

The first prison

May 7, 1945 before the arrival of Soviet troops, Braunshtayner escaped from the camp and was able to move to Vienna. Austrian police arrested her and passed by the British occupation forces: June 5, 1946 to April 18, 1947 was imprisoned in England. Then the Austrian court in Graz (Austria British occupation zone) sentenced her to 3 years in prison for crimes committed in the concentration camp Ravensbruck (not Majdanek). It was released under an amnesty in early April 1950.

After his release, he worked in low-skilled jobs in hotels and restaurants.

Marriage and emigration in the United States

American citizen Ryan Russell (Russell Ryan) met her while on vacation in Austria. Thereafter, while they lived in Canada. They were married in October 1958 and in April 1959 Braunshtayner enter the United States. He became an American citizen 19 January 1963

The family lived in Maspeth (Mathpeth) (part of the district of Queens, New York), where Hermine was considered an excellent housewife and friendly woman.


for Nazi criminals hunter Simon Wiesenthal traced its way from Vienna to Canadian cities and Canada - in the United States.

In 1964, Wiesenthal told the New York Times that Braunshtayner probably married a man by Ryan names and lives in Maspeth. To find "Mrs. Ryan," instructed Leliveldu Joseph (Joseph Lelyveld), then still a young reporter.

Braunshtayner Ryan opened the door for him after the second ring. Later, Joseph wrote, she said: "Oh my God, I knew it would happen. You come".

Hermine claimed that worked in Maidanek only a year, of which 8 months in the hospital. "My wife, sir, not hurt a fly," the husband said. "On this earth there is a decent man. She told me that it was her duty that she had to perform. It was "conscriptive service" (compulsory service, a similar service on call). "


Nevertheless, August 22, 1968 the US authorities initiated the process of canceling citizenship Hermine Braunsteiner as when they apply for citizenship she concealed the fact of a conviction for war crimes.

Long dragged it ended in 1971 with the signing of its agreement with the court: for him, it was deprived of American citizenship, but avoided mandatory in case of deportation.

Meanwhile, the Dusseldorf Public Prosecutor, Germany, began an investigation of its conduct during the war, and in 1973, the West German government made an extradition request Braunshtayner, accusing her in promoting the death of 200,000 people. US court initially rejected the request, citing in particular the fact that the request was political in nature and comes from "external forces" that the second criminal prosecution is impossible, and so on.

During the year, Hermine and her husband attended the meetings of the District Court of Queens in her case. The prosecution subpoenaed surviving inmates of concentration camps. They described torture and mass abuses in the camps.

May 1, 1973 the judge had applied for approval of the US State Secretary, and August 7, 1973 Hermine Braunsteiner became the first Nazi criminal extradited from the USA to Germany.

The trial in Germany

In Dusseldorf Braunshtayner Ryan was in custody as long as the husband is not made a pledge.

The Court rejected its initial arguments that it does not fall under German jurisdiction, because it was a citizen of Austria, not Germany, besides the crimes she is charged with were committed outside the territory of Germany. The Court considered that at the time she was a citizen of Germany, and most importantly - government official who are in government service.

Together with another 15 accused Braunshtayner Majdanek guards, men and women. This process was the third trial of the guards Majdanek (the first was in 1944, the second - in the 1946-48 biennium.).

"3rd process Majdanek" was the most time-consuming and expensive in the history of Germany he began November 26, 1975 and ended June 30, 1981 (of 474 meetings were held).

One of the witnesses against Hermine testified that she "grabbed the child by the hair and threw them into the gas chambers." Another talked about the steel-studded boots, which she struck a prisoner. Due to insufficient evidence, the court withdrew Braunshtayner Ryan three articles of the original six charges; in the indictment it acknowledged responsibility for killing 80 people, complicity in the murder of 102 children and assisting in the death of 1,000 people. She was sentenced to life imprisonment - the most severe punishment among the other defendants.

Complications of diabetes after, including the amputation of his legs, led to the fact that Hermine was released in 1996. She died on April 19, 1999 in Bochum, Germany.


After the incident with Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan by the US government at the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Justice was established by the Department of Special Investigations. Its purpose, including - to prevent the granting of US citizenship of war criminals.